By David Rogers. January 24, 2015. BLOWING ROCK, NC — They came from near and far. Some had this planned a year in advance, an item to cross off their “bucket list.” Others met in the Chetola Mountain Resort bar the night before and just decided “it would be fun.” Whether anyone had second thoughts after jumping into the 40-degree waters of Lake Chetola on Saturday for the annual Winterfest Polar Plunge they were keeping them to themselves, but it’s a good bet that a bunch of money was raised for the Western Youth Network and Hospitality House, the two official non-profit agencies.
Of course, that is not all of the money that was raised. Some of the jumpers promised to jump if they could raise money for other specific charities, like the Blowing Rock School PTO-Sponsored Playground Project or Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S. In all, 130 “crazies” braved the chill waters — and standing in line, waiting their turn! It was a record for the annual Winterfest event.
John Carter of WBTV in Charlotte served as emcee for the second year in a row, and video of the event was streamed onto the TV station’s website. Mr. Carter interviewed each individual or group with plenty of interjected humor. There was a long list of places from people hailed, including Raleigh, Charlotte, Lenoir, Hickory, Pittsboro, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Tennessee, as well as a number of locals.
Some jumped in feet first, others belly-flopped. Most jumped way out, a few other “crafty” souls jumped close to a ladder for a quick exit. There were cannonballs, and a couple of what looked like pirouettes. A few did backflips, while some of the groups were “synchronized” upon entering the water — but it was every man and woman for themselves in getting out! Several eschewed the ladders, springing out of the water and flopping onto the dock like every salmon fisherman’s best dream.
Here are photographic images captured by Blowing Rock News — we think of EVERY jumper! There were gorillas, penguins, faux bikinis, bare-chested brave souls, anesthesiologists who had lost their way, and even a couple of costumes that had to be blacked out on network TV. It was all in good fun — and it was.